The film was shown at some film festivals and awards events in 2011, and, in its current version, is being prepared for theatrical release in 2014. Its Ardmore screening will be the first time it is seen in the Philadelphia area, Critelli said. Its next showing here will be in July, during the National Urban League conference, hosted by the Urban League of Philadelphia.
Critelli said the current version runs 92 minutes, trimming about 25 minutes, and focuses even more clearly on the coach’s character and “her transformation as a leader and mentor to young people.”
“The story grabbed me, and I was at a decision point in my life,” Critelli said of his motivation to make the film. “I believe very strongly in principles of inclusion,” he said, referring to one of the movie’s themes. He said he was also persuaded by conversations he had with others in creative fields, who told him that entertainment can be a great influence in social issues.
In connection with the game of golf in particular, Critelli said that one path that, for young black players like the ones Starks wanted to recruit, had been a way to learn and enter the game had narrowed, as clubs phased out caddying programs. Through her efforts, the teams she put together, until her retirement as coach in 2006, were extraordinarily diverse.
Her most famous golfer, Canadian Sean Foley, has gone on to serve as swing coach to Tiger Woods. Another team member, Sam Puryear, became the first African-American men’s head golf coach in any major college conference, at Michigan State University.
Critelli, who will be traveling internationally, will not be able to attend the Ardmore screening, but other members of the movie production team, including his wife, Joyce, and son, Michael, the screenwriter, will be on hand for a question and answer session. Also expected to attend is the film’s “everyday hero,” Coach Starks herself. The session will be moderated by Ardmore’s movie expert, Miguel Gomez of Viva Video.
Gomez, who staged an outdoor screening for last month’s First Friday Main Line, is providing the equipment to show “From the Rough.”